Ampere Altra: 80-core ARM chip set to rival AMD EPYC and Intel Xeon
The Ampere Altra is Ampere’s latest server processor with 80 ARM cores and a 210W TDP. It will compete against the likes of AMD EPYC and Intel Xeon processors, and must not be confused with the NVIDIA Ampere GPU architecture, which I assume needs no further elaboration anymore.
The Ampere Altra is based on the ARM Neoverse N1 cores and will be manufactured on TSMC’s 7nm process, and will come with impressive connectivity features to boot. For starters, all of the 80-cores are on a single die communicating via a coherent mesh interface. For communication to additional hardware, you get up to eight-channels of DDR4-3200 memory for support for up to 4TB memory, 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes (192 lanes in a dual-socket configuration) and support for the CCIX interface and also CXL in the future.
Relying on the ARM architecture allowed Ampere to deliver on lower power consumption. The company claims that you can integrate up to 3500 cores per rack. It also reportedly outperforms both the Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 and AMD EPYC 7742 after adjusting for the compiler advantage both Intel and AMD has.
Implementations for the Ampere Altra include inferencing workloads, which is an important part of today’s AI-driven infrastructure. As of now, Ampere has yet to mention any pricing nor the number of products in its lineup. It just mentions that there will TDPs ranging from 40W to above 200W, and will be available in configurations with up to two Ampere Altra processors per rack.
Ampre also lists Oracle, Microsoft Azure, Canonical, VMware, Lenovo and GIGABYTE as companies that are interested in the Ampere Altra platform. The chips will be available starting mid-2020.
Pokdepinion: While it’s cool and all, I do wonder how is TSMC coping under all the orders it is receiving.